Henry Cejudo did the improbable at UFC 249 on Saturday night in Jacksonville, FL. He knocked out Dominick Cruz (a TKO, more accurately). It was the first knockout of any kind the former WEC and UFC bantamweight champion had ever suffered.
The only other stoppage loss in Cruz’s career, in fact, came to Urijah Faber, who submitted him back in the pair’s WEC days.
Then, Cejudo (16-2), an Olympic gold medalist, UFC flyweight champion (former) and the reigning bantamweight champion, did the unthinkable: he retired. A shocking end to the UFC 249 co-main event.
Goodbye, fight game. It was an announcement no one saw coming, especially at just 33 years old, and coming off one of the biggest wins of his career. Cejudo, however, is not interested in sticking around the fight game, it seems. He’s looking to other pursuits.
“WWE, they can call me,” Cejudo exclaimed “but they can bend the knee too!”
“I’m looking forward to getting into business. Just starting a new chapter in my life,” the man known as “Triple C,” the “King of Cringe,” and “The Messenger” told reporters at a virtual post-fight press scrum. “Having kids eventually. Getting married, and all that stuff. I’m 33 years old, I did a lot of my career, I think it’s time to spread the seed and get to the world.”
Kids are a work in progress, or at least a serious thought in Cejudo’s mind, it seems. “I got a girl now. I think more importantly, I want to start that next chapter in my life.” Suggesting he’d lived enough to have the mind of a 50 year old, Cejduo said family was another big factor. “I just don’t picture myself fighting and having a kid,” the champion said, noting that he himself was raised by a single mother.
What he wants next, besides a appearance in the WWE, might surprise you. “I would eventually like to get into real estate,” said Cejudo, suggesting that an HGTV-style reality show would interest him. “I don’t know that much about real estate, but I’m very intrigued by it.”
Someone call Al Iaquinta.
Cejudo, who won gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics, noted that “I haven’t stopped since. Give a brother a break. Plus, I do want to leave on top. It is a Cinderella story.”
That seems to be another big factor in his decision. As the late Kenny Rogers sang, know when to walk away. “Leaving on top with two belts, an Olympic gold medal. I think there’s a lot that I could roll with that. I’m a persona, I have a personality. I feel like I have a lot of good traits I could give to the world, other than just fighting.”
The decision to retire came about after Cejudo’s shoulder surgery, that resulted in a lengthy layoff. It made him reflect on what else he wanted to do with his life. “There’s so many layers to Triple C that people don’t know about. I’m a conqueror, I’m a bird, I love to fly, I love to explore, I love to conquer new things. I feel like I’ve done everything in combat sports. Olympic gold champ, flyweight champ, bantamweight champ.”
And, clearly overwhelmed by all the focus on his unexpected retirement, he added, “can’t I just leave on top?”